|Date:||29 April 2019|
|Location:||Beit Fajjar, West Bank|
On 29 April 2019, a 16-year-old minor from Beit Fajjar was arrested by Israeli soldiers at 2:00 a.m. He reports briefly speaking to a lawyer on the phone prior to interrogation but not being informed of his right to silence. He was released without charge 14 hours later.
I woke up at around 2:00 a.m. to the sound of boots kicking our front door. Then I heard voices telling us to open up. My father rushed to the door and opened it and about 15 Israeli soldiers entered our home. More soldiers were outside.
The commander told my father they were looking for me and wanted to arrest me. When my father asked why the commander told him he did not know. Then he checked our identity cards and my mother thought they had made a mistake but the commander repeated that he was looking for me. At that point I felt very scared.
My mother asked the commander why they were arresting me but he told her not to ask any questions. Then he gathered all the family in one room and told me to leave the room. They did not give my parents any documents. Meanwhile the soldiers searched the house and caused damage to the furniture. They remained in the house for about two hours.
I went back to my bedroom and barely had time to get dressed. The soldiers took me outside and one of them swore at me and called my mother and sisters “whores”. Another one struck me with his helmet on my head. My hands were then tied to the front with two plastic ties. The ties were very tight and painful and left marks on my wrists for days. They also blindfolded me.
I was then led to the back of a military jeep and made me sit on the metal floor between the soldiers’ legs. The jeep drove to the police station in Etzion settlement. On the way soldiers kicked and swore at me.
At Etzion the soldiers made me walk along way. Later they left me in the sun for about two hours. I was not given any food or drink and I had to beg to go to the toilet. Then I was taken for interrogation.
The interrogator removed the blindfold and the ties. He was in civilian clothes and had a gun on his side. As soon as I entered he put the telephone on speaker and handed it to me and told me it was a lawyer but I doubted it. The person on the line told me each question the interrogator asks me would have a meaning and a purpose and advised me not to speak and to take care. The interrogator was in the room and heard the conversation which lasted less than a minute
The interrogator started by telling me he wanted me to hand over my weapon. He did not inform me of my right to silence but I decided to remain silent. This upset him very much and he started to thump the table when I did not answer his question. Then he yelled at me and said I had to bring him the weapon. He told me if I told him where I had hidden the weapon he would stop questioning me. He told me the sooner I gave him the information the better it would be for me.
He questioned me for about two hours and he was typing on his computer the whole time. In the end he showed me a document in Hebrew and asked me to sign it but I refused to sign and told him I did not understand what was written in it. He then signed the document himself. Then he re-blindfolded me and tied my hands.
After the interrogation I was taken to a room where I sat on a chair. I was left there until late at night when I was taken to a cell. They wanted to strip search me but I refused to take off my underwear. They searched me in my boxer shorts and I was left in the cell until around 7:00 a.m.
At around 7:00 a.m. I was taken to Ofer military court where I waited for a couple of hours and then I was told I was going to be released. I was given some food but I did not go into the court room.
I was released at around 4:00 p.m. and I took a taxi home. I was released on 29 April 2019 without charge. My parents were not informed about my release and they were surprised to see me at home.
This was a terrifying and difficult experience. When I hear military vehicles in the village I run home; I don’t want any more encounters with soldiers.